Methodology: 25 Best Places to Live for Millennials

Methodology for Top Metro Areas

The Top 25 Cities and Neighborhoods for Millennials ranks the top metro areas in the United States using more than a dozen factors, including data from the U.S. Census, FBI crime rates, and proprietary Niche rankings based on surveys of nearly 500,000 college students and recent grads over the last four years. Here’s a closer look at what’s involved in these factors:

1.  From the U.S. Census American Community Survey:

  • Percentage of the population between 25 and 34 years old
  • Median rent (lower scores better)
  • Median income
  • Percentage of the population with a bachelor’s degree or higher
  • Racial diversity
  • Unemployment rate (lower scores better)

2.  Crime Rates from the FBI Uniform Crime Reports* (lower scores better)

3.  Rankings from Niche.com (generated from user survey responses):

Metro areas were restricted to only metros with a population of at least 1 million residents. All factors were normalized across the distribution and then weighted equally to determine the final ranking.

*Crime data from the FBI URI is incomplete for Chicago, Columbus, and Minneapolis-St. Paul, so each were assigned median crime values.

Methodology for Best Neighborhood

The ranking for Best Neighborhood for Millennials within each metro was determined using a similar methodology.  Less data is available at the neighborhood level, so factors were limited to:

  • Percentage of the population between 25 and 34 years old
  • Median rent (lower scores better)
  • Median income
  • Percentage of the population with a bachelor’s degree or higher

Urban neighborhood data was unavailable or incomplete for Raleigh, Indianapolis, and Phoenix, so the datasets for those metro areas were limited to the Census County Divisions (CCDs) and Census Designated Places (CDPs) located within each metro. The remaining 22 metro area datasets incorporated urban neighborhoods in addition to CCDs and CDPs.


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